6 Common Air Conditioner Smells Answered and How to Fix the Problem

April 21, 2021

When your air conditioner is spotless and running right, it’s expected you won’t be smelling anything odd. Unusual air conditioner noises and odd smells are a sign that something is up. If your air conditioner is old or you haven’t had maintenance scheduled within the last year, they can be a sure sign you need professional air conditioning repair in Norton.

Here are six of the most frequent air conditioner smells and how you can solve them.

1. Central Air Conditioner Smells Like Chemicals

If your air conditioner smells bad when turned on, particularly a chemical scent, isn’t a great sign. You might also observe your:

  • Air conditioner smells like paint thinner
  • Home air conditioner smells sweet

These sweet, chemical odors are frequently a sign that your air conditioner is suffering from a refrigerant leak. Your system uses this gas to shift heat through copper coils, which can break out as time passes.

4 Signs You Are Experiencing a Refrigerant Leak

In addition to the odd smell, here are four other clues that you have a refrigerant leak.

  1. Bubbling or hissing sounds when your air conditioner is on.
  2. Frost on refrigerant lines or the evaporator coil.
  3. Difficulty keeping your house comfortable or achieving your set temperature.
  4. Higher energy costs.

How You Can Fix It

A refrigerant leak needs experienced assistance from a heating and cooling company like HCE Systems Inc. Your cooling specialist will find and fix the leak before recharging your AC with refrigerant.

Resolving a refrigerant leak typically costs between $225 and $1,600, according to nationwide averages put together by HomeAdvisor. Your total cost will depend on the location and severity of the leak, as well as how much time it needs to fix.

If your air conditioner was installed prior to 2010, there’s a high probability it runs on R-22 or Freon refrigerant. This refrigerant is no longer being produced because of its harmful effects on the ozone layer. Consequently, repairs can be extremely expensive so it may be best to do air conditioning installation in this situation.

2. Air Conditioner Smells Like Gas

If your air conditioner smells like rotten eggs, there’s probably nothing wrong with it. But there’s a significant likelihood you have a natural gas leak in your home. Natural gas has a sulfur-like additive to alert you when there’s a leak, as the gas can be toxic in big amounts.

How You Can Fix It

If you notice a sulfur or rotten egg odor, we recommend:

  • Switching off your gas supply.
  • Opening windows.
  • Going outside promptly.
  • Call your gas company now.

3. Air Conditioner Smells Musty

People who call us regarding this problem frequently mention their air conditioner smells like feet, dirty socks or a locker room when it runs. Also known as dirty sock syndrome, this smell is typically linked to a filthy evaporator coil that has mold, mildew and bacteria buildup. Moisture can also make your home air conditioner smell bad. Dirty sock syndrome is most common in areas where you use heating at night and during the morning before transitioning to cooling later in the day.

How to Repair It

The best method for preventing dirty sock syndrome is to routinely replace your air filter and schedule yearly air conditioning maintenance with HCE Systems Inc. We’ll keep the evaporator coil clean and the drainage system unblocked, because stagnant water can also produce noxious odors.

4. Air Conditioner Smells Like Vinegar

If you are living with air conditioner mildew smell or an acidic, vinegar-like odor, it might be caused by several problems, like:

  • A clogged filter
  • Excess condensation
  • Plugged condensate pan or drain line
  • Moldy air conditioner or ductwork

How to Fix It

Check your filter first. If you haven’t put in a new one within the last three months and can’t see light through it, you should replace it. If that doesn’t fix the problem, call HCE Systems Inc at 276-302-0076.

5. Air Conditioner Smells Like Burning Plastic

If you’re experiencing an air conditioner burning smell or that your air conditioner smells like fish, there could be a couple of things wrong. These entail:

  • Broken capacitator that’s overheating the motor.
  • Motor that should have lubrication.
  • Broken fan belt.
  • Electrical trouble.

Electrical issues should be checked right away to prevent a fire. If you smell burning plastic when your air conditioner is running, turn it off and reach us at 276-302-0076 immediately.

6. Air Conditioner Smells Like Cat Pee

An overpowering ammonia odor means there may be mold spreading inside your air conditioner or ductwork. The smell isn’t the mold itself, but the mycotoxins that mold creates.

How to Solve It

Mycotoxins are hazardous to your health. That’s why it’s important to have a pro like HCE Systems Inc check your air conditioner and ductwork and clean it when needed.

Our Professionals Can Take Care of Unpleasant Air Conditioner Smells Rapidly

You deserve to be comfy in your house and shouldn’t have an air conditioner that smells bad. When you need relief from your smelly air conditioner, give us a call at 276-302-0076. We’ll determine the trouble quickly and take care of it at a competitive.